December 6, 2009

Creamy Tomato Soup

Speaking of comfort foods...the ultimate comforting meal for me--and I'd guess for most people--is usually tomato soup & grilled cheese, old school style. It reminds me of childhood winters, of coming inside for lunch all pink-cheeked after playing in the snow; of grade-school cafeteria lunches, of being excited about getting to buy a lunch instead of packing one or walking home for lunch; of dorm-room meals cooked in a microwave and electric sandwich maker. It reminds me of my mom.

I still crave the comfort of tomato soup and grilled cheese, but these days I forgo the canned soup & white bread with American cheese slices for a more "mature" version.

Creamy Tomato Soup

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
38 ounces crushed tomatoes
4 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt & pepper
chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion & garlic and cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Stir in the crushed tomatoes and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
  • Add the stock, curry powder, and paprika. Simmer for 7-10 minutes.
  • Puree the soup in a blender in three batches (be careful when blending hot liquids, as they expand). Pour each batch of puree through a strainer into a saucepan.
  • Stir in the cream. Taste and add salt & pepper as needed.
  • Serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley & a few cheesy croutons (recipe below).
For the croutons: Simply cut 1/2-inch thick slices of a baguette or a good loaf of bread. Toast the bread on both sides in a skillet with a bit of olive oil. Top each slice with a generous sprinkling of freshly grated cheddar & Parmesan cheeses. Broil the slices just until the cheese melts. Cut into cubes & add to your soup.

No comments: